Thank you Mr. President,
I would like to thank Mr. Farid Zarif for his briefing. We have taken note of the Secretary Generalís report on UNMIK. We welcome His Excellency Mr. Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and His Excellency Mr. Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo to the Security Council and thank them for their statements.
There has been intense engagement between the two Prime Ministers during the current reporting period. We are encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by both sides to resolve their differences through peaceful means. We would like to commend High Representative Catherine Ashton for her tireless efforts to bring the two sides closer to an agreement.
Dialogue offers the best means to address the outstanding issues between Kosovo and Serbia and reach mutually acceptable solutions. We, therefore, urge both sides to maintain the momentum of the dialogue process and seize this window of opportunity by making the necessary compromises. We sincerely hope that the next round of talks on 2nd April will lead to an agreement.
The report of the Secretary-General notes that the high-level engagement between the two sides has resulted in the start of the implementation of the agreement on Integrated Border Management (IBM) at four of the six crossing points. Full implementation of the agreement will help in addressing a key source of discord that has caused much of the violence witnessed over the last one-year and a half.
Implementation of the other agreements concluded with the facilitation of the EU would also serve to enhance mutual confidence and help the dialogue process.
The security situation in Kosovo remained calm. However, the north continued to see some violence. The overall number of recorded incidents affecting minority communities has decreased. All such incidents should be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.
Incidents of vandalism of religious sites and damage and theft at Orthodox Churches, as well as desecration of Orthodox graves continue to be reported. Such incidents are harmful for inter-communal relations and must be addressed.
The Kosovo Police should ensure that it equally provides for security of all communities inhabiting the country. The adoption of the Community Policing and Action Plan is a step in the right direction.
Creation of conditions for the peaceful integration of minority communities and sustainable returns is essential for building the foundation for long-term reconciliation. It would help in convincing the Kosovo Serbs that they share a common future with the Albanians.
We agree with the Secretary-Generalís assessment of the need for well-grounded efforts for promoting reconciliation amongst the communities in Kosovo alongside the political process. It would require sincere efforts of the leadership on both sides. We, therefore, encourage political leaders in both countries to reach out to their respective constituencies in order to prepare them for the difficult decisions and painful compromises ahead.
Finally, UNMIK continues to play a vital role in ensuring stability in Kosovo. We would like to commend the SRSG and his team for their dedication and hard work in the service of peace in Kosovo.
I thank you.